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DIY Lift Harness For Large Dogs

DIY Lift Harness For Large Dogs

When Leroy was sick I ran into many obstacles that I wasn’t prepared for with a giant breed dog. It’s not that I never thought about it but I just wasn’t prepared to have a debilitated dog as soon as I did.

Helping him up was nearly impossible and getting him into the car without a dog ramp or dog steps proved to be impossible for me alone.

It was scary and frustrating and a huge wake-up call.

We got a ramp. We got a lift harness. We made alterations to our home.

Of course, by the time we had all those items at our disposal, Leroy was on his way to recovery and our need for them wasn’t as dire but I know they will be needed again in the future.

Before our lift harness arrived in the mail we used a towel to help Leroy up. It worked in a pinch but it certainly wasn’t ideal.

A towel is hard to grip on the sides when you’re lifting a 130-pound dog.

A small towel won’t do because it doesn’t fit around a big dog.

A towel puts a lot of pressure under the belly, an area that was already sensitive in Leroy’s case, when your lifting. Not to mention the tension it put on my back.

But what other options do I have when I need a dog sling in a pinch?

Well, a few weeks ago I saw this genius and simple idea pop up in my Facebook feed from Dunnville Animal Clinic and I wanted to share it far and wide so others may be able to benefit from this if they ever find themselves needing a dog sling in a pinch.

Make a shopping bag into a temporary DIY lift harness for large dogs.

DIY Lift Harness For Large Dogs

I thought this was genius and so simple my concern was that I saw a lot of people with BIG dogs were saying “Nice but I have a 100-pound dog. That won’t work.”

I thought it would work so I put it to the test.

First I searched my house for the perfect shopping bag.

I have a ton of them.

Some small. some big.

Of course, a small one isn’t going to work on a BIG dog.

But I had the perfect one.

My BlogPaws swag bag.

DIY Lift Harness For Large Dogs

It’s HUGE and while I was little sad about cutting it up, the zipper was broken from holding too much swag and I figured it was being used for a good cause so it wouldn’t mind be sacrificed.

All I did was cut the sides off, removed the zipper and I had a dog lift harness. It took me less than 3 minutes.

It fits on my 170 pound dog and it holds him.

DIY Lift Harness For Large Dogs

It was kind of hard to lift him since he doesn’t need it right now but I have no doubt that it would hold him, temporarily.

As I was lifting I listened to hear if the stitching was holding and I didn’t hear anything tearing and the whole bag was fully intact when I was done.

Of course, Leroy thought I was I was a little wacko and making himself dead weight but that tested the durability even more in my opinion.

I don’t think this type of lift harness should be used permanently and it definitely would have to be heavier material,  but I do think it would work great in a pinch and I wish I knew about it last year.

I think it would have been a lot easier on Leroy and on me until our real lifting harness arrived. It’s a great option when the unexpected happens and you’re not prepared.


  • Folding a large bag in 1/2 would work also. I tried this after the fact and it doesn’t go as high up on the chest which might work better for some.
  • It’s washable!
  • Canvas bags will be more durable and probably more comfortable than plastic bags.
  • Keep one in your car for older dogs who have trouble getting in and out.


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